July 12 (UPI) — All doping test samples, taken in the run-up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and during the event, have yielded negative results, the international football governing body FIFA said.
“The testing program in place this year was the largest ever conducted for a FIFA World Cup,” FIFA said on Thursday. “Once all of the qualified teams for the final competition were known, FIFA developed a test distribution plan (TDP) based on an analysis of doping risks for football. The TDP was shared and agreed with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and consisted of a dynamic, intelligence-based testing program.”
Since January 2018, a total of 2,037 tests have been conducted by FIFA, national anti-doping agencies and confederations. This produced 3,985 samples. A total of 2,761 samples were collected directly by FIFA in unannounced controls prior to the competition and 626 during it (including 108 collected on non-matchdays).
One player was in possession of a therapeutic use exemption for the substance detected.
FIFA has established a preliminary testing pool of more than 1,500 players who were potential participants at the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
In addition to the tests directly conducted by FIFA, each national anti-doping organizations (NADOs) and the respective confederations were contacted to seek their assistance in testing the athletes in the lead-up to the tournament. This close cooperation with other testing agencies allowed a significant increase in the number of tests on participating players.
FIFA used the athlete biological passport program in WADA’s “ADAMS” system. A special group, composed of independent experts, was set up to review the data of players to detect potential deviations that may indicate an abuse of performance-enhancing drugs.
All samples collected were analyzed at WADA-accredited laboratories, with most of the analyses – particularly of all the samples collected during the competition – carried out to the laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland.
To ensure a tamper-proof operation, FIFA transported all the samples in a type of secure box that is normally used by banks to transport money, which can only be opened with an electronic key.